He felt a cold stone beneath him. Talos tried to rise, but his body fought against him. His head was pounding, his ears ringing, his stomach lurching, and his very breath felt stolen away. This was both new and familiar to him. Pain, he thought. He hadn't experienced pain in so long; so very long. He lay there on his back in the darkness that surrounded him. He was unsure of where he was, only that it was dark and cold.
He was vaguely aware that he was naked. He sat cross legged as he tried to organize his thoughts. First things first, he thought, Who am I? Obviously due to lack of fur, scales, or enormous teeth he was not Orc, Khajiit, or Argonian. Thank the Nine... Eight... for that. He stood, unsteady at first, and he stared at his hands. They were large and free of any marks or calluses. He judged by his height and weight he was Nord. So I am still myself then, good. He touched his brow where he had a taken a scar from a dragon and found it was not there. He was new. Young, not even out of his twenties. I have been given another life.
Now for the second task, where was he exactly? He turned left, arms outstreched until his hands found rock. He followed it until he found a door leading into a central chamber. Grasping the door frame he entered, and then fell to his knees when he saw an altar before him. Of course, he thought staring at the altar... the altar where his Imperial Dragon Armor once lay. The others had returned him to where he'd left. Sancre Tor. My legacy.
The temple had turned to ruin. By the looks of it there had not been a visitor there for centuries. There were no obstacles to hinder his path. With a quiet prayer to Arkay for the souls of those buried here, Talos began to search the graves and tombs of the dead in search of any sort of armor or clothing, and a weapon if he should be so lucky. These graves were those of Bretons and Nords, dead from the battle of Sancre Tor. Yet there were a few here who were once Blades, and others who were once royalty though, now, long forgotten; his own descendants. Sadly, he found the ruins of Sancre Tor had been looted long ago. He found nothing but rags, yet rags were better than nothing when it came to going bare into the world. If he was remembering right, Sancre Tor was in the Frostback Mountains bordering Skyrim. He would need protection from the cold.
As he left the ruins he was blinded by the light of the sun and the pure whiteness of the snow. For a moment he was at a loss for direction. Then he remembered, like an old memory from a lifetime ago. Alduin. The pantheon.
North. To Skyrim.
* * * * * * * * *
"Hey, you, you're finally awake," said a voice from across from him. Talos blinked his eyes, the world returning into focus. What happened? He remembered walking though the mountains, then hearing fighting, and going to see if he could find out what was going on, then... nothing. Once things came into full focus he looked across from him There sat a young Nord in chain mail with blue cloth underneath, to his left were two more Nords, one in
peasants' clothing and the other who looked like he was a noble; the noble seemed to be gagged. "You were trying to cross the border, right?" the young Nord said as he eyed Talos with concern, "Walked right into that imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there," he said as he nodded in the direction of the ungagged Nord.
"Damn Stormcloaks... Skyrim was fine before you came along. Empire was nice and lazy," said the thief. Talos frowned, the Stormcloaks? Of course, the civil war in Skyrim. At this point he hadn't bothered to see who was driving their little wagon train. Talos took this chance to look at the driver; an Imperial soldier. "If they hadn't been looking for you, I could've stolen that horse and be half way to Hammerfell," the thief fumed, then turned to Talos, ""You there, you and me – we shouldn't be here. It's these Stormcloaks the Empire wants."
"We're all brothers and sisters in binds now, thief," said the young Stormcloak quickly.
"Shut up back there!" cried their Imperial driver.
They were all silent for a few moments, it was the thief who broke their silence, he turned to Talos, "And what's wrong with him, huh?" he said as he stole a glance at the gagged noble.
"Watch your tongue. You're speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King," the Stormcloak growled, "Show some respect!"
The thief's face turned white, "Ulfric? The Jarl of Windhelm?" he said shakily, "You're the leader of the rebellion. But if they've captured you…" he gasped, "Oh gods, were they taking us?"
Talos looked at the man to his right, so this was the great Ulfric Stormcloak? The man who rebelled against the Empire; against the elves? Talos held back a smile, Just like me when I was young, one man against the world. Meanwhile the thief was becoming more and more anxious, he looked like he was literally shaking in fear.
The Stormcloak seemed to notice this, "What village are you from, horse thief?" he said, his voice soft, comforting.
The thief looked at him curiously, with what looked like accusation in his eyes, "Why do you care?"
"A Nord's last thoughts should be of home," the Stormcloak said softly.
"Rorikstead. I… I'm from Rorikstead," the thief said, his voice cracking over each word.
Talos watched as the train of wagons approached a great stone wall.
There was a loud creaking sound as the front gates opened. Somewhere a soldier cried out something, but Talos did not hear the response. He was thinking of ways to get out of this predicament. Sadly, though, none came to his mind that wouldn't endanger the other prisoners.
The thief was now crying out to the gods, "Shor, Mara, Dibella, Kynareth, Akatosh. Divines, please help me!" Talos bowed his head, maybe Akatosh had heard him, but his prayers would be in vain. The Divines did not involve themselves in the lives, or deaths, of mortals. He wasn't sure if this thief was a believer of the Nine, but Talos was there and heard his prayer. He nodded, he heard the prayer, if he had any power still maybe it would matter.
As they passed the entrance gates Talos was able to catch a glimpse of a soldier in shining armor, and then he saw him conversing with a group of High Elves, the Stormcloak must have seen them too, "Look at him, General Tullius the Military Governor, and it looks like the Thalmor are with him, damn elves. I bet they had something to do with this," he hissed.
A sour taste grew in Talos' mouth. So those were the Thalmor? The ones who had banished his worshipers from the Empire? Who thought themselves mighty enough to control the gods? Anger grew inside him, anger he had not known for a millennium. The rage of a man scorned. Unintentionally he reached for his Voice, but then he stopped, shocked. He could not reach it. The capability of the Voice was there, the essense that made him Dragonborn, he could feel it inside him, but he could not remember a word of the Language that gives power to the Thu'um.
His heart pounded in his chest, Akatosh had said he would lose something of himself, had his mastery of the Dragon Lanuage been that? Without the words the Voice was nothing. He would be starting over. This is what he meant.
Defeated Talos sunk into his seat as he caught the Stormcloak in mid conversation, "Funny, when I was a boy, Imperial walls and towers used to make me feel so safe," he said with a halfhearted laugh.
He watched as the wagon cleared a corner and then eased next to the other wagon, the prisoners from the other wagon already had begun disembarking. Theirs stopped for a moment, then a harsh voice shouted a command, "Get these prisoners out of the carts. Move!"
Immediately, they started leaving their cart. The captian's armor flashed in the late afternoon sun as the soldier next to her held a scroll and quill and seemed to be counting.
"Empire loves their damned lists," said the Stormcloak next to him, Talos held back a laugh.
The soldier with the scroll began reading off names. As their names were called the prisoners assembled themselves at the block, and now they had reached their group, "Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm," Ulfric stepped forward and followed the others, still gagged and unable to speak.
"It has been an honor, Jarl Ulfric," said the Stormcloak beside him reverently.
"Ralof of Riverwood," said the reader.
The Stormcloak beside him, Ralof, smiled softly at Talos, "Let's go. Shouldn't keep the gods waiting for us," then he followed Ulfric to the block.
"Lokir of Rorikstead."
The thief practically jumped out of his skin at the sound of his name, "No, I'm not a rebel! You can't do this!" he said, eyeing the Imperials wildly, "You're not going to kill me!" then he bolted and ran like a daedra fleeing a Temple. Talos hoped for a moment that Lokir would escape...
"Archers!" cried the Captain, and on command a triple of arrows flew from the walls and into Lokir's back. The thief fell to the ground, dead before he'd hit the path.
"Anyone else feel like running?" asked the Captain of the remaining prisoners, there was silence.
Shaking his head the list reader continued, but then stopped and looked directly at Talos, "Wait," he said. "You there. Step forward." Talos stepped forward, keeping his eyes on the soldier, "Who are you?"
"I'm a Nord, I came from Cyrodiil," Talos said, his voice rough from lack of use. He searched his brain for a name. He couldn't say he was Tiber Septim, or Talos, not even his name before that. Then a word came to mind, he wasn't sure of where it came from or of it's meaning, but it was perfect.
Talos smiled, "Revakkaal."